The 4 Stages of Self-Enquiry
Self-enquiry is a virtue of human intelligence. It is a natural faculty of the mind, helping us to understand our journey home, our journey to wholeness and supporting the full embodiment of our divinity. Self-enquiry is a welcoming attitude toward our potential, it is education for the mind and a protection from dual thinking.
The practice of self-enquiry makes the person a seeker. It allows the mind of the seeker to see the facts as they really are, without the intervention of expectation, imagination or fantasy.
Self-enquiry makes you real and aware. It is the knife which cuts away illusion, the crystallization of the human intelligence.
Throughout the stagesAll stages of the seeker are guiding him to a sense of belonging, to the understanding of his lessons, and to return home with wisdom and completion.
First Phase: Why is the sky blue?
When a 3 year-old child asks, “Why is the sky blue?”, we are faced with an enquiry. This first stage of recognition aids the localization of the matter-self into the space. The child wants to know in order to acquire a sense of belonging. Where I am? and How does this earth plane work? are the fundamental preoccupations of this facet of enquiry.
In order to maintain the health of the child’s sense of enquiry, it is best to give the child a simple answer half of the time, and to allow them to construct their own answer the other half of the time. It is not a problem if you do not have all the answers. In fact, if you always give the child an answer to every question they ask, you risk transmitting personal belief systems, as well as your own perception of reality.
For the seeker, the value is in keeping the question so the curiosity and passion for learning remain alive and passionate. Answering can narrow the mind and teaches from a place of, “I don’t need to enquire anymore, since I already have all the answers.”
In early stages of enquiry, answering is welcome. As the seeker grows in perception and ability, fewer answers are needed.
Second Phase: How am I projecting myself?
When we reach puberty, the growth of our brain starts to accelerate, presenting the growing seeker with a new area of exploration: personal identity, role and projection in society. The teen wants to confront what he has been given. It wants the enquirer to be independent, to be able to explore and to discover new ways to evolve. It is a moment of great sensibility and attunement with the inner and the outer world. It is a process of refreshing one’s beliefs and of reframing self-identity.
The teen needs to explore and travel. They need to leave the biological parents — at least for a time — in order to find a wider perspective of life and love.
Third Phase: How I am doing?
At this stage, the seeker wants to be reassured, and comes face-to-face with the dual plane, presenting an avalanche of choices which test the mind. It is important at this stage that the seeker walk away from dualistic perception, recognizing that what is requested from him is to play certain roles 100%. There is no need to put every action on trial to determine if it is “right” or “wrong”. This tedious approach simply depletes the process, stopping or blocking the flow of enquiry with the analytical mind.
When we recognize the self as the creator of our reality, as well as that of others (and as well as the creation itself), we come into an empowering state which complements the flow of self-enquiry. An important question at this stage might be: How do I create my reality?
Fourth Phase: What am I?
This stage can arise at any moment of your life. It arises in the moment that you are ready to go within. Asking What am I? directs the energy into a place of inner reflection. At this stage, we admit we don’t really know anything and are ready to surrender to the wisdom of the moment. Our questioning is interested in revealing the mysteries of the self, to realize our complexities and to fulfill of thirst for completion.
What you are, there is no need to answer. It is more of an induction into a state of being, into a state of repose, and into a state of stillness. It is humbling and quiet. It is a prayer.
The seeker needs no answers at this stage. Rather, to realize itself, the seeker simply needs the proper questions. It is the role of the teacher to present the seeker with proper questions, to ensure that factual perception is maintained.
The seeker needs to stay open to questioning, as in the second phase of the teenager, so that constructed perception can always be examined. The seeker needs to befriend the non-dual mind and to drop the game of right and wrong. The seeker must maintain independence and self-responsibility, keeping a constant commitment to knowing what they truly are.
The good seeker never judges, never seeks, and never leaves behind self- inquiry. The excellent seeker sees the event, participates in the event, but always holds on to the question of their importance and of reality.
As powerful energetic devices, the questions What am I?, Where am I going?, and Why am I here? are imbedded in our intelligence to aid our journey on earth and our return home with full perspective and compassion.